Fabulous Festa

Hundreds of people from Swan Hill and across the country attended the Swan Hill Italian Social Club’s Festa Della Madonna Del Monte Carmelo last weekend.

A crowd of around 500 people joined the procession in Swan Hill on Sunday as part of the Festa Della Madonna Del Monte Carmelo celebrations. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

A crowd of around 500 people joined the procession in Swan Hill on Sunday as part of the Festa Della Madonna Del Monte Carmelo celebrations. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Now in its 61st year, the festival was jam-packed with events and food to celebrate the special occasion.

Italian Social Club treasurer Tony Marsili said the event had been a big hit with attendees.

“Everybody really enjoyed themselves, I have had lots of positive feedback,” Mr Marsili said.

People enjoyed a dinner dance at the club on Saturday night, followed by fireworks that lit up the night sky.

On Sunday, mass was held at St Mary’s Church, preceded by the traditional procession of the Madonna statue.

The statue of the Madonna was brought over from Italy in 1959, three years after the inaugural Festa, and holds pride of place in the church.

Hungry revellers then headed to the Swan Hill Italian Social Club for a pasta and barbecue lunch.

Five busloads of people drove up from Melbourne just to spend the weekend in Swan Hill.

Two priests also travelled from Melbourne and three attendees made the trip down from Sydney.

Mayor Les McPhee and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh were also in attendance.

After mass on Sunday the Madonna was carried out of St Mary's Church.

After mass on Sunday the Madonna was carried out of St Mary's Church.

Mr Marsili said the event had been advertised on the internet and in Italian language newspapers in Melbourne.

“It is very popular,” he said.

“Many of them come every year.”

He said although numbers were still good, they were slightly down from expected.

“We had 270 people at the dinner dance which was a lovely evening,” he said.

“On Sunday, there were about 500, which is less than usual.

“I think it was quieter because of the bad weather.

“The main thing is that everyone who did attend was happy and enjoyed themselves.”

With more than six decades of tradition behind the event, Mr Marsili said he hoped the Festa would continue for a long time.

“It’s a great event that should be kept going,” he said.

“It’s definitely on the cards for next year.”

All money raised through the Festa will go back towards the Italian Social Club to fund renovations and upkeep of the club’s building.

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